11. Consider eloping— with the dogs. Small, informal, outdoor weddings are a great fit for even the shyest dogs. When Lisa and Louis Ferrugiaro eloped to a dog-friendly bed and breakfast in West Cape May, N.J., in September 2008, they imagined that their dogs —Lola, a 13-year old Chinese Crested, and Gus, a 7-year-old Italian Greyhound—plus the mayor, who performed the ceremony, would comprise the entire wedding party. In the end, they were required to have two additional human witnesses, so the B&B owner’s 87-year-old mother and another guest joined the party. The newlyweds and their pups celebrated by taking a long walk through town and down to the beach.
There are as many ways to include dogs in your big day as there are mirrors on a disco ball. Take the time to find the best way to celebrate their special role.
Celebrate your dog love with vintagestyle dog-themed tie tacks or lapel pins ($9). Reproductions of old postcard images of dogs on reused wooden buttons, these are a sentimental accent for the groom or a simple gift for members of the wedding. Search for ohmydogness at etsy.com
Fresh blossoms make for gorgeous dog collars, but they’re fragile. To keep your flower dog photo-sharp for hours, consider an elastic collar of silk daisies, roses or a single camellia from The Wedding Dog’s couture line ($65-$260).
Even if your dogs can’t attend the wedding, they can be there in spirit. Star House of Asheville creates custom keepsake cake toppers out of sustainably logged, local poplar in the image of your multi-species family (p. 66; about $175 for family of four— allow five weeks).
Replace the reception tradition of clinking a spoon against your champagne flute with clicks. Customized clickers, imprinted with the wedding message of your choice, are a noisy, fun favor for fans of positive reinforcement training. (Minimum order, 250; $.65 each, plus $25 set up.)
Invest in a future heirloom: hire a wedding painter. New York City watercolorist Anne Watkins paints dog portraits, wedding scenes and dogs in weddings in lovely, whimsical pieces that transform your wedding day into a lasting work of art.
Why limit yourself to a flower garland around your dog’s neck? For their wedding, Neil Cline and Sheryl Bass created the Pet Petal Pullcart. Attachable to a dog shoulder harness, the cart has holes in the bottom and paddles that agitate and distribute flower petals down the aisle. This is the full flower-child deal, and could be a good job fit for carting dogs.